On April 3, 2009 students from Copperfield Elementary went with Mr. Dustin and Ms. Sarah on an after school field trip to Richard Garriot’s Curtain Theatre. Ann Ciccolella of Austin Shakespeare was kind enough to open the doors of this Elizabethan theatre replica nestled deep in the West Austin hills. The Copperfield 4th graders are working with Mr. Dustin to learn all they can about William Shakespeare and life in Elizabethan England using a newly developed TAP curriculum, “Shake it up, Shakespeare”.
At the Curtain students toured the theatre and saw with their very eyes that which they had only been seeing in books. The groundskeeper, Dale, took the kids on an exciting tour through the magical Elizabethan village near the site. The students also rehearsed and performed the opening scene of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on that very stage. It was a brief spectacle depicting two twins getting lost at sea when their ship is thrown about the waves and pulled apart – a lot of imagination went into the recreation of this maritime disaster – and all on a stage fit for the actors of Lord Chamberlain’s Men themselves.
The students at Copperfield will perform a very, very condensed version of Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at a special family night presentation at the end of May. Surely now, what with all this hands-on experience, we will be garnering a Tony (or an Olivier Award) in no time.